Board Elections Getting Counted, Being Heard

 Every co-op and condo community has a board of directors in charge of governing  the community’s finances, physical maintenance and other day-to-day business. Part of the  board’s responsibility also is to keep the community fiscally sound, though not all  boards do a good job of this task. Given all that, it's easy to see why it’s important for residents to choose their community’s board members carefully.  

 How it's Done

 Boards are generally elected by building residents, but the process by which  they are elected varies from building to building because the election itself  is usually mandated through the community’s bylaws. Residents elected to the board of directors bring a variety of skills  to the office, but not all directors are equally knowledgeable in the various  aspects of their job. The process of running elections for new board members is  one task that the board can bungle, sometimes with disastrous results.  

 Residents of a community who believe an election was conducted improperly can  challenge the results. The matter can wind up in court, costing the dissenting  residents and the community a lot of money in legal fees. In the process,  neighbor can be pitted against neighbor and hard feelings can unwittingly be  engendered—sometimes, over a seemingly simple misunderstanding of how to properly conduct a  community’s election.  

 Nobody wants to be viewed as a possible cheat by his or her neighbor because  election rules weren’t specific enough in governing a board’s election, or because board members themselves weren’t aware of how to correctly run the process. That’s why it’s essential to understand the correct procedures in an election so that it runs  smoothly and fairly. A properly-run election helps to avoid the appearance of  impropriety and lessens the risk that the election will be challenged.  

 Democracy at Work

 Most co-op buildings or communities have election rules detailed in their  bylaws. Many call for yearly elections of board members—usually during the annual resident or shareholder meeting.  


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  • If the proxy is assigned to the management company, does this give the company the vote for Board of Directors. I understand that this is not allowed in Maryland.
  • Please, advice if employees of co-op are allowed to solicit for proxies from co-op shareholders on behalf of Board members during work hours as well as off hours.
  • Good question peter. I'm in new york and our super is on the board. he also collects proxy votes. does anyone know if that is legal??
  • Our condo board has created a nominating committee to choose one candidate for each open board position. Anyone else who wants to run must have a petition signed by 17% of the homeowners. Is this legal? There is no mention of the nominating committee in the bylaws.
  • Does a proxy vote have to be filled in by the voter or can it be sent in blank and be filled in by a person other than the voter.
  • Due to resignations of 2 board members we are having our Annual election for 5 spots on the Board. Three 3 year spot and two 2 year spots. Does the voter have to vote for 5 directors Can a ballot be voided because the a voter did not vote for 5 of the 8
  • Board in over 12 years. Two years no voting and no annual meeting. "We are doing good job, will stay." Board member died. Had 5 members. Viced President told me will not replace.
  • what about the secrecy and security of the nominating petition itself - is that a document that is openly shared?
  • I am being nominated from the floor on the night of our board election. Due to personality conflicts, some residents are soliciting proxies and our by-laws state that no homeowner may have more than 4 proxies. Said homeowners are now dividing up their proxies. Can this be challenged after the vote?
  • What can unit owners do in a case that there was not any board meeting or board election for the last 4 years. The maximum time board member elected is 3 years, 2 years and one year.. Do they still considered Board members even though they were not reelected?
  • We have an unusual situation. A small building of 9 units and a board of 5. The Board has 9 votes with 6 votes of those 9 held by 3 members, As it stands, the board, particularly the 3 with the votes, has the votes to vote themselves in again which has happened and to vote in or out anyone that they want or don't want. This undemocratic method is maddening and has a terrible effect of the morale of the building for those under this despotic rule. Are there any precedents for a ratio of board members to shareholders? Unfortunately, the board has not fulfilled it's fiduciary responsibility and acts in their own agenda disregarding any arguments that may disagree with their methods (side agreements not needing shareholder approval) and frustratingly there is no recourse, as the legal fees incurred by the board (those 6 and/or 9 shares_ 3 and 5 shareholders repsectively) are paid for by the co-op (all 14 shares) and there is not a sufficient non board group (4 shareholders) to pay any legal action that could possibly upend them. Any legal precedents?
  • Just a question originally it posted candidates night to be November 5th, then it was changed because the president of the board is not available on the 5th, it was changed without informing the other candidates of the change. It has since been changed to a date that I am unable to attend, which I also informed the current board that I wont be able to attend. Is the board legally allowed to change the date of candidates night to suit the needs of the current President despite the other people running for the board?
  • Can board members solicit for proxies. We had 2 new candidates are going from door to door doing. Is that legal?
  • I threw my name in the hat for residents to have someone other than a long-standing board member to vote upon, at our annual meeting, which, at the time, had two open positions, (out of a Board of five), available to vote upon. At the end of the ballot process, a board member's husband and a resident counted the votes and the results were announced by the Property Manager. According to this process, I was not the person voted upon and the two incumbent board members were re-voted in. When I asked to see the results, I was simply shown the tally sheet. I was later told I could not see the ballots, that it was not permitted. Is this so, in Westchester County, N.Y.? We are having problems with Quantum Property as they gave us no disclosure when they filed our tax cert application in 2007, which we found out because a resident works for the town and discovered it. It was brought to the attention of our present Board. As it turned out, our present Board president has given the Property Manager, "limited power of attorney," and so he acted on this tax cert proceeding, without even the Board's knowledge. Because of this unethical practice, and that the Property Manager signed documents to give the attorney 33 and 1/3 percent of the Judgment, we feel we have a legal right to recoup back some of this money as this fee was exorbitant. The Board has close-door meetings and one annual meeting in October per year. We are frustrated and some of us have formed a group of five to meet regularly and we feel an audit of our finances are in order. We did not receive financials this year. The present Board secretary has not produced minutes in the past two-three years. FRUSTRATED and WORKING ON A PROBLEM, OBVIOUSLY.
  • What were the answers to Pete's comments.... If a management sent proxies with an agenda less than 10 days prior to meeting, with no nominations listed, can the name(s) of interested persons be written on the proxy and a check mark in the Part A box, requesting to be included but not designating anyone to represent the vote? Does writing on the no name listed proxy/ballot render it illegal? Can management choose to not include proxies delivered to the meeting be ignored? and finally, can a board member count the votes if nominations are taken from the floor only?
  • Just moved into a self-managed condo. Received ballot for election of Board. My name, unit number and percentage of common elements are printed on the ballot. The Board counts the ballots. Is this legal in Westchester County, NY?
  • Do you know if an non owner, but yet a resident should be allowed to solicit against 2 current board members by placing letters only in certain doors of Owners. The 2 board members who did run for the board lost mainly because of his out of line letter?